“You name yourself fire and brimstone, but you’re hardly more than a candle flame and a pinch of salt.”

“Baby bird, listen,” X says, and kisses Y’s forehead. “We’re gonna be okay. Come hell or high water, we’re gonna turn out all right. Bad things happen – awful things – but the world will keep turning, and while we’ve still got hands and breath, we’ve still got time to fix it.”

“You’re wrong,” says Y, and bursts into tears.

“I love you desperately, my heart, but you are safer without me. Go, and be happy. I beg of you.”

“However much I may suffer, dearest, there could be no worse torture than being forced to leave your side. Though I may die, it will be no death like the death of my heart in losing you. Also, I’m a grown-ass adult and you can’t tell me what to do, so there.”

“X, with all the love in my heart, I have some concerns about your child.”

“Why? Xe’s flourishing.”

“Xe’s running around half-naked, covered in mud, and howling like a wild animal while trying to catch and eat grasshoppers with xir bare hands.

“Who am I to deny xir the ability to follow the inexplicable exhortations of xir soul? And anyway, I hear grasshoppers are quite nutritious.”